Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Word of Mouth Campaigns: Part 1

Happy Wednesday, it's Morgan with a few marketing campaign reflections and thoughts. 

I will admit that I am extremely fortunate to have book loving co-workers.  We often sip coffee and discuss the latest books we are reading in the hall and at each others desks.  Our president is even an avid reader and sometimes joins the discussion.  I share the books I collect from various writing conferences.  Our agreement is that if they liked one of the books they've borrowed, they have to post a review and / or tell others about the great book they just read.  But there are instances where they didn't like or finish a book they borrowed.  (Again, not every book is going to be every person's cup of tea.)

Word of mouth campaigns are funny things.  If the person talking about your book really liked it, positive promotion ensues.  If they hated your work, the opposite is true.  Malcolm Gladwell in his influential work The Tipping Point explores the elements and factors that can cause a message or product to go viral.  Mavens (the experts) chat with Connectors (the folks with a wide network of contacts in a variety of fields) and Salesmen (those among us who can sell ice in Antarctica).  The right message relayed to the right mix of people at the right time can cause the ripple effect needed for a best seller.

So how do you influence this process? 

KNOW and UNDERSTAND your audience.

Over the years, I've gotten a good feel for the different genres and writing styles my co-workers enjoy.  For one lady, the 'smut factor' (her words, not mine) must be high (two or more love scenes) for her to enjoy a romance novel.  Another lady enjoys YA Steampunk.  While yet another swoons over books that incorporate historical adventures.  Equipped with this knowledge, I can put my Maven skills to work by pointing each of them towards new and seasoned authors that write what they enjoy reading.  And guess what....once they've discovered an author they like, they want to read all the books that author has written! 

Of course they won't like 100% of my recommendations, but my hit rate dramatically improved the more we discussed their likes and dislikes.  Needless to say, we are in the early stages of planning a book club.  I will be sure to keep you posted on our progress.

For this week's field trip, I challenge you to chat with at least three new people you see regularly to find out if they read books often.  If their answer is 'yes,' then ask them to tell you about the types of books they like to read.  Keep it casual, don't turn the conversation into an inquisition.  I'm sure you'll be surprised by the information that book lovers are willing to share.  And who knows, you may even find some new readers.

Any marketing questions can be posed in the comments on any post. If you have a question, others will too, so we can address our answers to all. Our posts are myths and tips we want to share but we love to target our answers to specific questions.

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